Welcome to the Tales of a Kitchen Witch Blog.

JoniRae.com is also the home of the Gentle Parenting Colouring Book and Goddess Dolls, and original artwork by Joni Rae Latham, so remember to check out the Gallery and Shop while you're here.

Things I’m Doing That You Might Find Weird…

Henry In My Lap

Ok dear reader, I would wager that quite a few of you far surpass me in crunchy-land, but I’m sure my style of mothering a baby might look weird to a lot of people that are not from that country. 

Also…  This is how *I* choose to parent, and is not a commentary on how anyone else does it. I just thought it might be interesting to show you how we do it here in this witch’s household.  

Of course we all know that Henry had a homebirth.   His birth came complete with starting life in a giant pool of water in my living room while I chanted “open open” and my doula chanted “breathe breathe” and one worried “DON’T PULL!” as he was born directly into his father’s terrified hands.  No one but family and doula touched him.  He stayed attached to the placenta for an hour after birth.  He was not hatted.  He was cuddled close and immediately breastfed.  He stayed naked for over a week.  (Much to the chagrin of my mother.  She kept asking when I would dress him.)   He didn’t have a bath for at least that long.  We rubbed the little bit of vernix into his skin.  He spent most of those first weeks inside my shirt, and never more than an arm’s length away from me.

My placenta is still in my freezer. I had planned to encapsulate it.  But I ended up not needing to.  I think eventually I would like to plant a tree with it or something.  So it just sits in there, occasionally freaking out my friends.

No bottles or pacifiers. I hate pumping.  I just keep him with me or time my trips out for a quick grocery run around his naps.  Luckily my lifestyle allows for this to be an option.  To be honest, I did try a paci, because on night three of his life I was so tired and he was super cranky.  But he hated it.  So we are back to no artificial nipple-things.

No rice cereal or jarred baby foods. Henry is not going to be starting on a traditional baby food schedule.  I exclusively breastfeed and have no plans to introduce food until somewhere after six months, and it will most likely be little tastes and bits until close to 12 months.  Rice cereal and purees will be completely passed over in favor of whole, soft foods like avocado.

Teething Bling.  This is actually something I haven’t tried yet, but have heard how awesome amber necklaces are for teething.  I plan to order Henry a necklace as soon as I can afford it.  So he will soon be sporting the crunchiest of calling cards, which will complete the quintessential look of tie-dyed onesie and cloth diaper.

Naked baby!  Henry is usually in some state of undress.  He has tons of naked butt time, which keeps his skin healthy, and sometimes goes days in just a cloth diaper, without even donning a shirt.  I love cuddling with him, his baby skin is so soft, and I can’t bear to put him in sleepers that would cover him from chin to toes.  I usually just keep a blanket with him in case he gets chilly, but our house is climate controlled at 70*, so this is quite comfy for him.

Babywearing.  I didn’t bother with a stroller or bucket carseat this time.  I have a babyhawk mei tai that I’ve had since Cooper was born that I use to wear Henry when we are out and about.  We decided on getting a nice extended rear-facing carseat that we can use throughout the toddler years instead of the traditional bucket infant seat, and I personally think it is easier to get him in and out of that than carrying one around.

Cosleeping.  I have a crib side-car style against my bed, but that is really to give us more room when James is home.  Henry sleeps beside me, as have all of my other kids.  I love having him with me, and it makes it much easier to nurse him at night.

Baby gear.  We have next to none.  I have a boppy and a swing.  The swing is great for having somewhere safe to put him when no one can hold him, but that’s all I got.  I’m enjoying keeping things minimal this time.  I don’t even use a changing table.  Just a towel on my bed.  It’s awesome because we’ve saved money, but I also like that we don’t have baby stuff all over the house.  We just keep him with us and talk and sing to him when he needs to be entertained.

Cloth diapers.  We have used cloth diapers and cloth baby wipes right from birth. At first, I was worried that the meconium poo would stain his diapers, so I stuck to using prefolds in those early days, but it washed right out. I’m really proud of the fact that nothing but cloth has touched his skin.  I have put together quite a stash, even on a low budget and I love how cute his little fluffy butt is!

Chemical Free.  I used goldenseal powder on his umbilical stump. When I bathe Henry, I just use warm water. I discovered when Cooper was small that for us soap is unnecessary most of the time. I don’t even use rash cream. I have a special blend of coconut oil, herbs and essential oils that a friend made me for the few times his bottom has gotten a little red.

Gentle Living.  Henry rarely cries- with all these caregivers (parents and older siblings) most of the time he is soothed as soon as he fusses by whoever is closest to him.  We kept him whole.  We don’t do “cry it out” and we don’t have him on a schedule.  I breastfeed on demand, so he usually gets popped on the boob at the first sign of distress.

I know this isn’t how everyone chooses to care for their babies, but I’m ecstatic that Henry gets to start his life this way.  It works for us.  Henry is an extremely happy baby. Plus, I did many of these things for my other littles, more with each one, and look at how cool they have turned out to be!


13 Responses to Things I’m Doing That You Might Find Weird…

  1. We vary in my family on degrees of crunchiness, but I really admire how you have been able to keep things going financially while staying at home with your kids. The hardest thing I have ever done (and I’m only on day two) is leaving my kids so I can go get the stuff that buys food and housing and such. Oh how I envy mommas who have what it takes to make money to make ends meet from home.

  2. I love you Joni!!! We do the exact same things with our babies :) and our two youngest have worn amber necklaces and/or anklets since birth. I haven’t been able to homebirth due to my own high risks but lady – you ROCK!

  3. My little Corbin is just a teeny bit older than your Henry (05/04/13) and has spent the better part of his little life in a very similar fashion. We had a hospital birth (my preference) and he does wear clothes on a regular basis (just because I have a hard time passing up the adorable teeny cuteness that is baby clothes), but the rest is pretty spot on and I’ve yet to meet a happier baby than him. :) He’s actually nursing and grinning at me right now! I know that ‘crunchy’ parenting isn’t for everyone, but I couldn’t imagine being a parent in any other way–this definitely feels right (and it helps that much of it is supported by research too!).

  4. Yay for chewy granola moms! I did many of the same things with my littlest one. No CIO, Fed on demand, exclusive until about 6 months then fed homemade food bites. You’re not weird. It works for you and that’s awesome! I considered home birth, but being a ginge, well blood loss is a bit on the high end. just how it goes.

    You keep on doin what you’re doin! your kids are awesomesauce and so are you!

  5. That is pretty much how I did it, except my homebirths were planned unassisted. and I let my babies, pick and eat whatever they wanted,from our plates from like 6 months on.

  6. So here is a question, for the granola mothers. I when baby Disreali shows up, I want to wear them. But since I personally hate front carriers (I’ve carried my nieces and nephews that way and didn’t like it), are there any good back carriers for newborns? Plenty of culture have back carriers but I can’t seem to find any good ones here. Advice?

  7. You are a wonderful Mama! I loved reading your article and I too enjoy a mostly crunchy lifestyle. It is so encouraging to hear of more mothers choosing to share their whole living stories, way of life with everyone! You’re awesome!

  8. I love your blog!!!! This particular post sang to me! I do everything here that you do except cloth diaper. I was going to do it this time around (baby girl is 6 weeks old), but with my oldest being 9 years old and this being #5, I just couldn’t find the energy to even try. But, we’re using Earth’s Best organic disposable diapers. I figured that’s closest. Thanks so much for your time and energy writing these posts!!!! <3 Much love to you!

  9. Sounds like we are on the same page on your list. My 18 month old is soundly sleeping beside me amber teething necklace and all. Actually whole family has amber now, the joint pain is much less noticeable when we keep them on.

  10. I’m currently in the middle of reading Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman and I just got to a section about French childcare during the early years. There’s discussion of a study about the effects of daycare on children and ultimately the results were that the most important thing a child can have during their early years is… a caregiver who is in tune with them and their needs. Simple as that! I’d say you’ve nailed this quite nicely. (By the by, the book is an interesting read. I really respect the French view of letting children spend their early years “awakening” to the world around them as opposed to the more American view of treating childhood as college prep course.)

Leave a reply